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more profound, more humbling, more exalted emotions than anything else in the world can do.
The spirit of man is an instrument which cannot give out its deepest, finest tones, except under the immediate hand of the Divine Harmonist. That is, before it can educe the higher capacities of which human nature is susceptible, culture must cease to be merely culture, and pass over into religion. And here we see another aspect of that great ethical law already noticed as compassing all human action, whereby “the abandoning of some lower object in obedience to a higher aim is made the very condition of securing the said lower object.” According to this law it comes that he will approach nearer to perfection, or (since to speak of perfection in such as we are sounds like presumption) rather let us say, he will reach farther, will attain to a truer, deeper, more lovely humanity, who makes not culture, but oneness with the will of God, his ultimate aim. The ends of culture, truly conceived, are best attained by forgetting culture and aiming higher. And what is this but translating into modern and less forcible language the old words, whose meaning is often greatly misunderstood, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all other things will be added unto you?" But by seeking the other things first, as we naturally do, we miss not only the kingdom of God, but those other things also which are only truly attained by aiming beyond them.
Another objection to the theory we have been considering remains to be noted. Its starting-point is the idea of perfecting self; and though, as it gradually evolves, 'it tries to forget self, and to include quite other elements, yet it never succeeds in getting clear of the taint of selfreference with which it set out. While making this objection, I do not forget that Mr. Arnold, in drawing out his view, purposes as the end of culture to make reason and the kingdom of God prevail; that he sees clearly, and insists strongly, that an isolated self-culture is impossible; that we cannot make progress toward perfection ourselves unless we strive earnestly to carry our fellow men along with us.
Still may it not with justice be said that these linselfish elements—the desire for others' good, the desire to advance God's kingdom on earth—are in this theory
awakened, not simply for their own sakes, not chiefly because they are good in themselves, but because they are clearly discerned to be necessary to our self-perfectionelements apart from which this cannot exist ?
And so it comes that culture, though made our end never so earnestly, cannot shelter a man from thoughts about himself, cannot free him from that which all must feel to be fatal to high character-continual seif-consciousness. The only forces strong enough to do this are great truths which carry him out of and beyond himself, the things of the spiritual world sought, not mainly because of their reflex action on us, but for their own sakes, because of their own inherent worthiness. There is, perhaps, no truer sign that a man is really advancing than that he is learning to forget himself, that he is losing the natural thoughts about self in the thought of One higher than himself, to whose guidance he can commit himself and all men. This is no doubt a lesson not quickly learned; but there is no help to learning it in theories of self-culture which exalt man's natural self-seeking into a specious and refined philosophy of life.
Again, it would seem that in a world made like ours culture, as Mr. Arnold conceives it, instead of becoming an all-embracing bond of brotherhood, is likely to be rather a principle of exclusion and isolation. Culture such as he pictures is at present confessedly the possession of a very small circle. Consider, then, the average powers of men, the circunstances in which the majority must live, the physical wants that must always be uppermost in their thoughts, and say if we can conceive that, even in the most advanced state of education and civilization possible, high culture can become the common portion of the multitude. And with the few on a high level of cultivation, the many, to take the best, on a much lower, what is the natural result? Fastidious exclusiveness on the part of the former, which is hardly human, certainly not Christian. Take any concourse of men, from the House of Commons down to the humblest conventicle, how will the majority of them appear to eyes refined by elaborate culture, but not humanized by any deeper sentiment? To such an onlooker will not the countenances of most seem unlovely, their manners repulsive, their modes of thought common
place—it may be, sordid ? By any such concourse the inan of mere culture will, I think, feel himself repelled, not attracted. So it must be, because culture, being mainly a literary and ästhetic product, finds little in the unlettered multitude that is akin to itself. It is, after all, a dainty and divisive quality, and cannot reach to the depths of humanity. To do this takes some deeper, broader, more brotherly impulse, one which shall touch the universal ground on which men are one, not that in which they differ —their common nature, common destiny, the needs that poor and rich alike share. For this we must look elsewhere than to culture, however enlarged.
The view I have been enforcing will appear more evident if from abstract arguments we turn to the actual lives of inen. Take any of the highest examples of our race, those who have made all future generations their debtors. Can we imagine any of these being content to set before themselves, merely as the end of their endeavors, such an aim as the harmonious development of human nature? A Goethe, perhaps, might: and if we take him as the highest, we will take his theory likewise. Hardly, I think, Shakespeare, if we can conceive of him as ever having set before himself consciously any formal aim. But could we imagine St. Paul doing so, or Augustine, or Luther, or such men as Pascal or Archbishop Leighton ? Would such a theory truly represent the ends they lived for, the powers that actuated them, the ideal whence they drew their strength? These men changed the moral orbit of the world, but by what lever did they change it? Not by seeking their own perfection, nor even by making the progress of the race their only aim. They found a higher, more permanent world on which to plant the lever that was to move this one. They sought first the advancement of the kingdom of God and truth for its own sake, and they knew that this embraced the true good of man and every other good thing.
Indeed, of culture put in the supreme place, it has been well said that it holds forth a hope for humanity by enlightening self, and not a hope for humanity by dying to self. This last is the hope which Christianity sets before us.
It teaches, what indeed human experience in the long run teaches too, that man's chief good lies in ceasing from
the individual self, that he may live in a higher personality, in whose purpose all the ends of our true personality are secure. The sayings in the Gospels to this effect will readily occur to every one. Some glimpse of the same truth had visited the mind of the speculative Greek poet four hundred years before the Christian era when he said:
Τίς οίδεν εί το ζήμ μέν έστι κατθανείν, ,
“Who knoweth whether life may not be death,
And death itself be life?”
There is but one other thought I would submit to you. Those who build their chief hope for humanity on culture rather than on religion would raise men by bringing them into contact and sympathy with whatever of best and greatest the past has produced. But is not a large portion of what is best in the literature and the lives of past generations based on faith in God, and on the reality of communion with hiin as the first and chief good? Would this best any longer live and grow in men if you cut them off from direct access to its fountain-head, and confined them to the results which it has produced in past agesif, in fact, you made the object of the soul's contemplation not God, but past humanity? Are we of these latter days to be content with the results of the communion of others, and not have direct access to it ourselves to read and admire the high thoughts of à Kempis, Pascal, Leighton, and such men, and not to go on and drink for ourselves from the same living well-heads from which they drank? Not now, any more than in past ages, can the most be made of human character, even in this life, till we ascend above humanity
“Unless above himself he can Erect himself, how poor a thing is man!"
I cannot close without expressing a feeling which I dare say has been present to the minds of many here, as throughout this discourse they listened to the oft-repeated word perfection. Perfection! the very word seems like mockery when applied to such as we. For how poor a
thing must any perfection be that is reached this side the grave! Far truer is that word of St. Augustine—“That is the true perfection of a man to find out his own imperfection." Yes, the highest perfection any one will attain in this life is to be ever increasingly sensible how imperfect he is. As perfection is put forward in the theory I have been examining, one cannot but feel that there is a very inadequate notion of the evil in the human heart that is to be cured, and of the nature of the powers that are needed to cope with it. And in this respect we cannot but be struck with how greatly Christianity differs from 11ture, and differs only to surpass it; its estimate of the disease is so much deeper, and the remedy to which it turns so far transcends all hunian nostrums. Christianity, too, holds out perfection as the goal. But in doing so its view is not confined to time, but contemplates an endless progression in far-on ages. The perfection the Culturists speak of, if it does not wholly exclude the other life, seems to fix the eye mainly on what can be done here, and not to take much account of what is beyond. That was a higher and truer idea of perfection which Leighton had: “It is a union with a Higher Good by love, that alone is endless perfection. The only sufficient object for man must be something that adds to and perfects his nature, to which he must be united in love; somewhat higher than himself, yea, the highest of all, the Father of spirits. That alone completes a spirit and blesses it-to love Him, the spring of spirits.”
To sum up all that has been said, the defect in Mr. Arnold's theory is this: It places in the second and subordinate place that which should be supreme, and elevates to the position of command a power which, rightly understood, should be subordinate and ministrant to a higher than itself. The relation to God is first, this relation is last, and culture should fill up the interspace-culture, that is, the endeavor to know and use aright the nature which he has given us, and the world in which he has placed us. Used in such a way, culture is transmuted into something far higher, more beneficent, than it ever could become if it set up for itself and claimed the chief place.
I might now conclude, but there is a poem of Arche